Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy: Index Volume


Author: Hinshaw, William Wade
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 1,155 pp.


The six volumes of Hinshaw’s legendary Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy were published between 1936 and 1950, just prior to the author’s death. In the nearly fifty years since its completion, the Encyclopedia has remained the pre-eminent reference work in Quaker genealogy. For records of birth, marriage, and death–carefully recorded in the monthly meeting records of the Carolinas, Tennessee, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio– there simply is no substitute for Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia, especially when you consider that Quakers didn’t officially record their vital statistics until some time after 1850. And for records of removal, showing the movement of the Quaker population from one meeting to another and from one state to the next, there is, again, no substitute for the Encyclopedia. Indeed, almost no class of records, religious or secular, has been kept as meticulously as the monthly meeting records of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and Hinshaw’s careful transcriptions of these records have left the Encyclopedia without any serious rival.

Still, for all its gilt-edged data and its reams and reams of vital records, the Encyclopedia has a flaw: it does not contain an every-name index; instead, each volume has a separate surname index. So not only does the researcher have to examine six separate indexes, he also has to check out every reference to a given surname–page by page. Needless to say, this is a cumbersome and tedious procedure and is certainly not in the best interest of the researcher, who for fifty years has endured this lapse with surprising fortitude.

Now, however, comes an index to Hinshaw–the index, one might say–and all impediments to research are immediately overcome. Here in one mammoth volume–in a single alphabetical sequence–are the 600,000 names found in the great Encyclopedia. Each entry in this index contains the surname, the given name, and the volume number and page number wherein the name can be found. Simple! A straightforward index that enables the researcher to pin down his quarry with maximum efficiency.

For those who own the Encyclopedia, or even individual volumes of the Encyclopedia, this is a godsend; for those hoping to find out if any of their ancestors appear in the Encyclopedia, this is as good as it gets. For those with Quaker ancestry, this is a researcher’s dream.

Editorial Reviews
“For any library or researcher with the original volumes, this is a must-have addition. The search process becomes so much easier with this volume.”–FEDERATION OF GENEALOGICAL SOCIETIES FORUM, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Fall 1999), p. 33.

“…this huge index will make it vastly more simple to use a great storehouse of information [Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy].”–THE NEW YORK GENEALOGICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD (April 1999), p. 153.

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